FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Click on the Links below to find the Answers
We always operate on a strictly confidential basis
and at no time do we disclose any details of our clients.
The club/manager should always take the credit, not an outside consultant, because they make all the final decisions on what changes they will adopt and those that they won't.
Although we may not get any national recognition with strict confidentiality agreements, we do however, get great enjoment from seeing the results; suffice it to say that some clubs have better academy structures than others and some teams have a different approach to their style of play and training methods.
For many years most UK coaches were trained under a 'Rigid System' which
did not allow for any degree of flexibility, and to pass a coaching
course all you had to do was follow the book to the letter!
SSD is all about flexibility, adaptability, using your own initiative, and being continually open to new ideas and suggestions. Coaching courses and manuals should only act as a guideline - not as a bible!
Thankfully the UK system has started to change over recent years from its original rigid stance, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The task is split into four separate categories, youth players, senior players, team skills, and player assessment:
Youth Players - How many times have you seen outstanding youth players fail to make it at the professional grade - so individual development programming, mentoring, mental coaching, and personal management are key areas.
Senior Players - How many times have you seen a young player go from the top of his game to being in the reserves, or lacking in certain areas which ultimately becomes their downfall? Similar to the youth programme, but also working on the key individual skills, performance analysis, and pro-level skill development.
Team Skills - team performance and analysis.
Player Assessment - working closely with managers to find the right kind of players that fit into his particular style of play.
No, EWSM do not operate as licensed football agents as this allows us to be totally impartial at all times concerning individual players or clubs.
Agents are trained solely on the contractual side of things whereas EWSM uses its particular expertise (mentoring) to focus on the day to day issues surrounding professional football.
Back in the seventies my first impression was one of total professionalism and that operated right throughout the club from the youngest youth players to the top international stars.
Remember what it was like in the UK at that time, well, in Germany, there was no drinking culture, no partying, and no scruffy dress - being a professional footballer was a lifestyle and if you didn't tow the line you were out!
All of the training sessions were methodically thought out and planned with each individual player having his own specific programme.
Mental coaching - coming second was not an option, as a German, you win!
They also had quite a detailed Sports Psychology programme (first used in the 1974 world cup and copied from the American athletics team system) - yes, 20 years before the British even considered such a thing as a possible option!
'Cultural adaptation' is a big part of SSD and although a complex subject, it is one of the main reasons why we have failed over the years - you just can't copy a complete system from another country, you have to take into consideration . . . education . . . flexibility . . .!
Over the years Germany has just continually built upon that original foundation, and only recently they have invested heavily in a very successful new youth development programme.
Back in the early seventies Ajax set the foundation for the future of the Dutch game with their total football concept and modern style development programme, and this is the very system that
I entered into when I joined PSV a few years later.
At that time the Dutch didn't have the same level of mental coaching as the Germans (see FAQ on Germany), but they more than made up for that with their innovative approach to the game - skill training programmes from a very young age, masters of the possession game, and positional interchange ability. As with the German system, the UK tried to emulate this approach, but failed due to a lack of 'SSD Cultural Adaptation'.
If wondering where the Spanish system came from, it was Johan Cruyff, a former Ajax player, who took the process to Spain when he became the manager of Barcelona
Shortly after my 1995 report, The Grass Roots, was published,
the FA announced a major revamp of their youth development programme,
and they were later joined by members of the soon to be new Premier
All of the main figures behind this change had full access to the document, although you will never find any reference to this as they claimed full responsibility, but low and behold, three years later in 1998, around 75% of the recommendations outlined in the Grass Roots report were suddenly implemented.
Although around 75% of my original report (The Grass Roots 1995) had been implemented, a number of key elements were still missing - specialist junior and youth coaches (not one system fits all), key basic skills from a younger age, a return to competitive sport in schools, structured development programmes for academies, the introduction of specially trained development coaches, teaching kids the possession game (instead of direct kick and run and the 'big boy' approach within the kid's game), etc - so in 2010 I wrote the follow-up report, Kicking Into the Future - and in 2011 the FA announced some major changes to its development programme which included virtually all of these recommendations.
I retain the rights to the full SSD manual under copyright and only those who have had access to it through consultancy work, learned about it from other coaches/clubs, or operate it under licence, as is the case with many
other countries outside of the UK, are aware of the detailed systems contained therein.
Remember, I make my living from teaching the techniques, and indeed, all of the reports that have been previously published (to the public sector) only contain a very small SSD section - the full manual is 500 pages!
No, the vast majority of our work is carried out over
short time spans, days and weeks rather than months, so we tend
to make a fleeting appearance and then move onto the next job.
It would be detrimental for us to show any level of favouritism as this would seriously jeopardise our strict confidentiality agreements.
At the present time there appears to be two areas that we spend most of our time on, Transitional Stepping, and PA (player assessment)
- as a lot of British clubs are now trying to move away from the direct style of play towards the possession game.
Around 85% of young players signing professional contracts
in England today are leaving the game by age 21.
In SSD this is called the TRANSITIONAL STEP and something which I specifically highlighted away back in 1995 (Grass Roots Report) as needing professional nurturing, coaching, and mentoring by specially trained development coaches. This hasn't happened and as a result EWSM are now spending a lot of time working in this area with proper development programmes and player mentoring.
Most possession skill players can easily adapt to the direct game, but very few direct players can master the possession game - so clubs ask us to to carry out player assessments on potential targets to see if, in our opinion, they have the necessary skill base.
Initially, when EWSM first started, the vast majority of work came from the Academies as they tried to justify the large investment - getting the structure right, feeder input systems, age based development programmes, etc.
Once the academies were fully up and running the trend then turned towards the first team - introducing modern continental style coaching techniques, training programmes, and match strategies.
Currently, the two main areas are Transitional Stepping (steering talented youth players through the transitional stage between academy and first team level) and PA (player assessment) as a lot of British clubs are now trying to move away from the direct style of play towards the possession game.
The main advantage of being totally independent is the freedom that you have to move around from club to club and seek out new challenges on a regular basis. That said, yes, of course I have seriously considered the possibility of focussing all my efforts in just one direction, but that would be a major move for me. To work out, it would firstly have to be the right club, and that means the right chairman, the right manager, and the right mission statement, where we are all seeking the same final objective. Not easy to find, and I have come close on three occasions, but at the end of the day I declined their offers - I didn't want to return to Germany, I didn't want to return to Holland, and the English based club wasn't committed to a long-term project only short-term gain!
I will only give up my current position if the right club comes knocking!